Health and Safety provisions under Factories Act,1948

Written by Anushka Kamthan

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Health and Safety provision under the Factories Act,1948


The first Act which is made for laborers working in factories is the Factories Act,1934 but there are various defects and weaknesses. Due to defect and weakness, these provisions are not working properly and there is a need to bring changes in the provision to the effective implementation of the provision. After that amendment Factories Act, 1948 came into force. In previous Act provisions related to welfare, health, and safety not so good but in this Act the main focus of makers is to provide a healthy and safe life of workers. If we see the definition of a factory is not that much wider. But to protect the labors we made this Act in a wider sense. The provision of welfare, health, and safety is not adequate in various industries and does not cover the large numbers of workers working in a factory. If the workers are working in a factory then it was the duty of every employer to take the health and safety of workers. The number of industries in a country is increasing speedily so that there is a need for a proper provision related to health and safety-related. The inspector has a great responsibility to check that there is a proper implementation of health and safety provision or not. Various factories do not provide an adequate working condition of workers which causes several diseases to workers and this will also create a danger to the working class of a factory. Safety and health are very important for workers. Employers have to do their duty not to see the chance to escape their duty.

Health-Related Provisions

Section 11 Cleanliness

Every factory must be free and clean from effluvia which arises from the drain, privy or other nuisance. There is also a need to remember certain things like-.

  • Passage, floor, staircases clean regularly and the benches of the workroom were also made clean. All accumulation of dirt must be clean by sweeping or to adopt any other method as well. All dirt must be disposed of in a prescribed manner.
  • Once a week the floor must be cleaned by some disinfectant or use any other effective method.
  • The manufacturing process is like that which wet the floor then the drainage system must be adopted to dry it or certain other methods were also used to clean it.

There are certain other provisions regarding walls, partition, top of a room or ceiling. All sides of walls, passages, and staircases shall be-

  • The walls must be repainted or if they are painted with washable paint then do that in once a five year.
  • The walls are one a coat every three years and if they are washable then wash the wall every six months.
  • If they are smooth enough then clean the walls every fourteen-months as the method prescribes.
  • If the wall is painted with whitewash or color wash then for cleaning do that whitewash and color wash every fourteen months.
  • All doors painting and if they are made for wood then varnishing must be done at least every five years.
  • The date is also registered in which the process of painting, washing, varnishing, and cleaning is done.

The occupier is not able sometimes to follow all the above provisions so the state government wants to exempt any factory, class of factory or description of the factory. But also provide the alternative method to clean the factory.

Section 12 Disposal of Wastes and effluents

The factory must adopt proper methods to dispose of the waste or effluents so they do not harm anyone. The state government also provides the method for disposing of waste or effluents.

Section13 Ventilation and temperature

To maintain proper ventilation and temperature-

  • Infrastructure made just like that fresh air comes and dust air is removed automatically.
  • That method is adopted by the factory so that the temperature is maintained.
  • The state government provides different temperatures for a different industry. The temperature must not increase to that level.
  • If the chief inspector sees that temperature is high in the factory then the chief inspector has given notice to the occupier to maintain the temperature and adopt certain measures for that.

Section 14 Dust and Fume

  • Dust and fumes are dangerous for the health of employees then the employer has to maintain the balance.
  • The internal combustion engine is not started until there is no proper ventilation in the factory.
  • Proper exhaust appliances must be used by the factory otherwise it has an injurious effect on workers. It also caused cancer and tuberculosis.
Section 15 Artificial humidification

In manufacturing, process humidity is maintained by the employer to adopt the various method. It will be a must to maintain the temperature of that area where workers are working. If to maintain a humidity water cooler is used then the employer must make it clean. If air and water are used to maintain the temperature then it will be taken from a public supply or another source of drinking water. Water is used for increasing humidity then it will be purified. If the inspector realizes that water used to maintain humidity is nit purified then be given the notice to the manager of the factory and also specifies the method of water purification.

Section 16 Overcrowding

No workroom of the factory is overcrowded because it was injurious to the health of workers. If a factory is established before the commencement of this Act then the distance between workers is 9.9 cubic meters, but if a factory is established after the commencement of this Act then the distance between two workers is 14.2 cubic meters. The floor of the room is high at 4.2 meters.

If the chief inspector notifies how many workers are working in a workroom then-employer follows the order of the chief inspector. The chief inspector has given notice in writing to exempt that part then the exemption is provided if the chief inspector is satisfied there is no issue related to workmen working in less distance.

Section 17 Lighting

In the factory, proper light is provided to the workers. If proper light is not provided to workers then it causes a bad effect on the eyes of workers and due to its various dangerous diseases are caused to the worker.Glass and titles reflect light then it harms the eyes of the worker then these types of titles must be removed. In passage and staircases provide proper light. The state government made rules related to lighting and implemented it accordingly.

Section 18 Drinking Water

To provide proper facilities for drinking water. Drinking water is a must condition. In writing it was mentioned that drinking water is provided here and this was written in that language which is used by the majority of the workers. It was on that font size visible to all the workers. Drinking water distance 6m form other washing places like latrine and urinal facility, drainage, spittoon. The state government has the power to shorten the distance. In a factory more than 25o workers are working then according to whether drinking water is provided in summer cold drinking water is provided to the workers.

Section 19 Latrines and urinals

It is a general facility of latrines and urinals. This facility is provided to workers.

  • For males and females, different facilities of latrines and urinals are provided in a factory.
  • In latrines and urinals proper facility of light and ventilation is provided.
  • Cleaning and sanitary properly maintained in latrines and urinals.
  • The sweeper is hired by an employer whose duty is to clean the place of latrine and urine regularly.
  • If any factory where more than 250 workers are working then a certain facility is provided to the employees of the worker.
  • The internal walls of the floor of the urinal and latrine are nine centimeters. If the partition is used between the washroom of male and female then the partition must have glazed tiles. The smooth polished surface is used in latrine and urinals.
  • The state government prescribes the number of urinals and latrines in a factory. The employer’s duty to maintain sanitary conditions in the factory and also take care of the health of workers.
Section 20 Spittoons

To place the spittoons in the factory according to the convenient number. It must place in a clean and hygienic condition. The state government makes rules related to spittoons and also makes rules regarding it. If spittoons in a factory then no person spits in any other place. Spittoons can be washed daily by disinfectant. If anyone breaks the rule of spittoons then punishment is not exceeding rupees 5.

Case Fertility Limited v. Union of India, 1997

There is a factory in Bihar where all facilities of spittoons are provided but workers avoid it and not use that spittoon. Workers spit anywhere due to which factory area is destroyed. The manager of the factory imposes fifty rupees fine which may extend to 3000 rupees. The workers of the factory file a case against the factory. Court passed the order and stated that the factory was not that much of a fine. Fine is imposed according to the provision of section 20 which is rupees five.

Safety-related provision

Section 21 Fencing of machinery

In every factory where a motion or transmission machine is used in that condition, fencing is a must. The speed of the automatic moving machine is very high and it creates the danger of the life of workers. But we remove fencing with proper safeguards while it is necessary to oiling or lubricant. When belt mounting or shipping time we also remove the fencing of the machine.

The state government prescribes different rules to different factories because it depended upon the speed of the motion machine.

Section 22 When employees work on or near machinery in motion.

  • If any worker is working near a motion machine and on the motion machine then proper cloth provided to that person.
  • The only adult male can work on a motion machine.
  •  Do those people want to work on a motion machine more than before it? These people are given training on to handle the motion machine?
  • No young person or woman can work on a motion machine or near on that motion machine.
  • If any adult person works on mounting a belt then the length of the belt is not more than 15 cm.
  • If belt length is more than 15 cm then the worker denies doing work on the machine.
  • In a time of mounting check, that belt joint is joint properly or not.
  • To take all precautions when any person works on the machine.

Section 23 Employment of young person on dangerous machines

  • In ordinary conditions, young persons are not allowed to work over the machine.
  • Firstly we trained that person and provided thorough knowledge about that machine.
  • That young person is working under the control of the supervisor or supervision of a trained person.

Section 24 Striking gear and devices for cutting off power.

There are some machines in the factory which are run through gear. In a gear mechanism, there is a separate switching box. So the switching box must be outside that room where the gear mechanism is running. Gear of machine and switch on or off the button must be covered. When a person is going to work on the machine then it is necessary to check that gear must be neutral. The switch of the gearbox is off. The name of the person who is going for work must be registered under the register maintained by the employer. Firstly switch off the gear and lock them after that person is allowed to do work on the machine. A person standing nearby switches his duty to check that everything is ok or not. The speed of the gear mechanism is very high if we do any negligence toward it then it causes the death of a worker who is working on the machine.

Section 25 Self-acting machine

Self-acting machine speed is very high so where the machine is established needs to leave a space. The person who is employed in the factory or not maintains distance from the self-acting machine. The distance between machine and passage is 45 centimeter every industry follows this rule. The chief inspector feels that there is no maintenance of rule then passes an order to follow the rule in that area.

Section 26 Casing of new machinery

When a new machine is installed in a factory then measures to be adopted by the employer. All screw, bolt or key or any revolving shaft, wheel or pinion or spindle must in a proper way. Seller or hire check all the safety measures. Gear and various parts of the machine must be covered by the case so that it cannot harm the workers of the factory. After the commencement of this Act, all rules and regulations followed by the employer were made by the State government. After installing the machine some employees are trained by the employer how to run a machine. So, that worker can take all precautionary measures and no dangers on the health of workers.

Section 27 Prohibition of employment of women and children near cotton openers

In any factory of cotton, where there is a work of cotton opener no women or children are employed. Women and children are in a separate room of cotton opener. They are allowed to work on the cotton end portion. The inspector has to check that no women or child work in cotton openers part of the factory otherwise he is given notice to the occupier of the factory.

Section 28 Hoists and lifts

  • Hoists and lifts made of strong material so they are capable to bring heavy materials.
  • A competent person checks the hoists and lifts every six months at least. The registered is maintained in which all the entry is mentioned of an examination.
  • The way of hoists and lifts is covered with an enclosure and the gate is used to prevent the person. This enclosure was also made by a sound material.
  • There is a maximum limit of every hoist and lifts so no overloaded hoists and lifts used.
  • If a hoist and lift are used to carry a person then it was covered by a gate on both sides so that the person must be safe in the hoist and lift.
  • To pull the hoist and lift two chains or rope are used by the employer for the safety of workers. Efficient equipment is used to control the cage.
  • The state government is not satisfied with the condition of the hoist and lift then State government given the order to maintain it properly because it was very necessary for the safety of workers.

Section 29 Lifting machines, chains, ropes, and lifting tackles

Aby lifting machines must be made by sound material because they are used to carry a person or materials, goods also. Chains, ropes are made of good material so that we can use in construction and another industrial purpose otherwise it creates the danger of the safety of workers. A competent person checks all lifting machines, chains, ropes, and lifting tackles in every twelve months. The register is maintained of examination. The chief inspector checks the register at any time so it should be properly maintained. The state government has the power to make the rules related to lifting machines etc.

Section 30 Revolving machinery

The grinding process is done in any factory. So that there is a necessity to establish a machine on that premises or nearby that. The grinding speed is very high and if anyone comes in the contract of the machine then it causes the death of the person. The diameter of the machine must be secured so that it cannot harm the workers. State government prescribes speed of machine no one can exceed the speed.

Those instruments who are revolving by self the speed of these instruments were also maintained like a revolving vessel, cage, basket, flywheel, pulley.

Section 31 Pressure Plant

  • If any machine is used in a factory that is run by pressure more than atmospheric pressure then effective measures shall be taken by the employer for the safety of workers.
  • For the examination and testing state government makes rules regarding pressure plants. The state governments also adopt various safety measures regarding the safety of workers.
  • The state government also exempts any industry or plant for the provision of this section.

Section 32 Floors, stairs, and means of access

When the product is ready then the stock is placed in free space. It is not the right way to use this technique. When the stock is pending then it settled down by employer in upstairs, floors, etc. In the factory there is easy access to the way, to leave free space. The state government makes safety measures regarding floors, stairs, and means of access. It was made by a proper contraction and also maintained properly.

Section 33 Pits, sumps, openings in floors, etc.

Pits, tanks, sumps, and opening floors must be covered properly because of the depth, construction or contents. These are created a danger to the workers who are working near it.

The state government also exempt some industry or plant or class to this provision by giving the order in writing.

Section 34 Excessive weights

In any factory, no one carries excessive weight so that it causes injury to the person No employer can load a heavyweight on workers. The State government prescribe the maximum weight lifting by any adult men, adult women, adolescence and children employed in factories. They are fixing the various classes of industries or any description of factories.

Section 35 Protection of eyes

In a factory where the manufacturing process creates the particles in the air and also some explosive light comes from the manufacturing plant. This can affect the eyes of workers. So proper safety measure was adopted by the employer to protect the eyes of the worker. The state government provides an effective screen or suitable goggles so that the eyes of workers remain safe.


Section 36 Precaution against dangerous fumes, gases, etc.

  • No person is allowed to enter any hole, Pit or tank. If they are filled with dangerous fumes and gases because it was dangerous to human health.
  • The person is permitted to enter any pit, hole, and tank. Where the dangerous fumes are in permissible form. Before sending any person in dangerous fumes vapor firstly it was checked by a competent person. Competent people doing tests and given certificates after that person is allowed to enter any kind of chamber.
  • A person who is entering any kind of chamber or pit. They bear all the safety. He is securely attached by a rope one end of rope carry by a person who is outside the pit and he will manage the rope properly.
  • All apparatus and safety measures should be adopted.

Section 36A Precaution regarding the use of portable electric light

In-pit and chamber there is no facility of light so the workers are allowed to take a light with themself. The voltage of light is not more than 24 volt otherwise it was dangerous to the health of workers.

Section 37 Explosive or inflammable dust, gas, etc.

The manufacturing process in the factory produces any kind of dust, fumes, gases, and vapor. These gases, dust, and vapor are inflammable and produce ignition then these types of the process must be stopped or that plant or manufacturing process should be enclosed properly so that it cannot harm any person. All prevention measures should be adopted properly and effective enclosure of dust, fumes, and gases.

Section 38 Precautions in case of fire

In the factory, all preventive measures should be available at the time of emergency. All the workers of factory-trained how to escape at the time of the fire. The extinguisher is at the factory in everywhere. Time to time check the validity of extinguisher and their expiry date also. Proper guidelines will be provided to the worker at the time of emergency. All effective measures should be adopted so it will help to spread the firm in the place.

Section 39 Power to require specifications of defective parts or tests of stability.

The inspector sees the condition of the factory if he thinks that there is something dangerous to the safety of workers then an inspector in writing given the order to the manager and occupier of the factory and specified the date of all testing related to machine and building. Before the expiry of the date, all manager or occupier does all the specified result and reported to the inspector. Inspector does all these inquiries because of the safety of workers.

Section 40 Safety of buildings and machinery

The inspector checks all the industries, Manufacturing plants and machines there is any danger to the health of workers. All effective measures should be adopted to take precautions. Inspector has given notice to the manager or occupier of a factory that is there is any danger to the worker then this type of building is closed immediately. If manufacturing plants or machine is dangerous then it was also stopped to using them.

Section 40A Maintenance of buildings

Building in which the factory, manufacturing plant or machines are running should be properly maintained. If the inspector thinks that this causes danger to the life of the worker then an inspector in writing given notice to the manager or occupier of the factory to repair that building otherwise shift to another building. All effective measures should be adopted.

Section 40B safety officers

In a factory, if one thousand or more than workers are working then the employer has to hire a safety officer. The safety officer helps the workers who have any injury in the course of employment or disease. The qualification and conditions are prescribed by state government according to it employer appoint a safety officer.

Section 41 Power to make rules to supplement this chapter

This section is supplementary if there are any other measures adopted by the state government for the safety of worker then state government do it under this section.

Cases related to health and safety provisions 

We show the implication of health and safety provisions under the Factories Act,1948 by various cases.

Bayer (India) Limited and others v. the State of Maharastra, AIR 1995 Bom 290 (India)

In this case, the court held that those industries manufacture chemicals and hazardous substances. It sometimes causes danger to the life of workers. The judge said that the main focus of this Act is to protect the life and health of the worker. Anything which causes danger to the life of a worker then the court has an inherent power to prohibit the activity of the factory.

Sohan Lal v. the State of Rajasthan, 1962 (1) LLJ 607

In this case, Section 21(1), Factories Act related to it that the word used prime mover and flywheels in section 21 must be properly fenced either they are in motion or not. The fencing must be made of good material and properly fenced that this fenced does not create any obstruction in the movement because of the safety of the workers.

State of Gujarat v. Jethalal Ghelabhai Patel, AIR 1964 SC 779

The Supreme Court held that if someone removes the safeguard without the consent or knowledge of occupier it was not always a defense for him. Occupier has a duty to place the guard at the machine because it was very important for the safety and health of workers.

JK Industries Limited Etc v. The chief inspector of Factories, 996 (9) TMI 503 (India)

It was a landmark Judgement because, after that case the Factories Act, 1948 come into enforcing. Before it, we have Factories Act, 1934 but after that case court feels the necessity to bring the changes in health and safety provision. If we see that it is the time where the growth of factories or industry is increasing day by day. This Act is a welfare Act the main purpose of this Act is to cease the exploitation of workers.

Lanco Anpara power Ltd v. State of Uttar Pradesh and others, Civil Appeal No. 6223 of 2016

It was held that in this case that the superior purpose of this Act is to the welfare of the weaker section. When any court gives order then keep in mind and also the occupier and employer of the factory.

Also Read: Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 : Power and Function of Arbitration


The safety measure and health measure are very important for the workers. In India, the number of industries is increasing day today and it was necessary that we can take care of the health of workers. Various factories and industries do not follow any rules and regulation which causes danger to the life of the worker. Inspector is appointed so that every factory does their work properly.



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